Dr. Benson Uwheru, Managing Director, Port Harcourt, Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC), has advised stakeholders in the business to support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), to grow and thrive even in difficult times.
Uwheru gave the advice at the 2022 Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP)/Public presentation of Practice Licence, organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), on Thursday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event had “Sustainability Strategies for SME Growth and Relevance,” as its theme.
The Entrepreneurship Development Programme of the Institute is aimed at sharpening the entrepreneurial skills of professional members of the Institute to enable them successfully build capacity and win in the business ecosystem including SMEs.
The public presentation of the Institute’s practice license to qualified members enables them to practice their trade as consultants outside the confines of the banking hall.
Essentially, the practice license enables the holders who have acquired robust banking and financial experience to consult and render services in banking, finance, economic, and allied matters to clients.
Uwheru said, “the SMEs are a critical component of growth in any economy around the world and, therefore, there’s no way you can survive as a nation without the integration of SMEs, whether in terms of job creation.
“As you can see, SMEs contribute about 48 per cent of our national GDP and account for 96 per cent of businesses and 84 per cent of employment.
“If 84 per cent of employment is from SMEs, then it tells you there’s a huge potential and opportunity for us to grow our SMEs and support them to continue to thrive even in difficult times.”
He, however, said 80 per cent of SMEs were not sustained beyond five years in Nigeria.
He recommended ways to reduce the number of failing SMEs in Nigeria as, “proper planning, focusing on customers, hiring the right employees, testing of ideas before use, being innovative, knowing the competition and always looking for new ways to improve the business.”
Mr. Allen Onyema, Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Air peace Ltd., commended CIBN for the noble program.
“So, what you are doing today is very noble, it is what you should be doing because it goes a long way in not only creating the opportunities for businesses to thrive but also extending opportunities to others by way of employment.
“The critical mass of the unemployed in this country is your suicide bombers, they are your kidnappers, so you have to fight insecurity with job creation and SMEs are very vital for the country, government, the private sector and all, to encourage the growth of SMEs.
“Their sustainable growth will empower the country the most and will also bring an end to most of the vices we suffer in this country,” he said.
Onyema, therefore, urged the beneficiaries to ensure they mentored, empowered, and produced people to join in growing the country’s economy.
Earlier, Dr. Ken Opara, president CIBN, said Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) had developed and had been a significant and active component of the country’s economy over the years.
He quoted the World Bank as saying SMEs accounted for most businesses worldwide and were important contributors to job creation and global economic development.
He congratulated members who were presented with the practice licenses and seal and challenged them to exhibit a high degree of expertise and professionalism in the discharge of their duties. (NAN)